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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


A Pearl Harbor Story

Aboard the battleship USS California, Dec. 7, 1941. The time: 7:55 a.m. Wayne Shelnut was nursing a hot cup of coffee after breakfast when someone screamed, "What is that airplane doing up there?" Wayne walked a few steps to the door and looked up. A plane with a big red ball painted on the fuselage passed over the California then dropped a bomb on Ford Island. General quarters sounded and startled sailors ran to their battle stations. 100 crewmembers would die and 62 others would be wounded. World War II had caught our Pacific Fleet sound asleep at ...

April 26, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Never stop searching

November 28, 1972 - Udorn AFB, Thailand: The F-4 Phantom jet lifts off with Captain Jack Harvey at the controls. Flight surgeon Major Bobby Jones rides in the backseat. Major Jones is on the non-combat 'hop' to Da Nang, Vietnam, for one reason, to log the needed hours to maintain his flight surgeon status. The flight is uneventful until about 18 miles out from Da Nang. Something has gone horribly wrong in the vicinity of cloud-covered Bach Ma Mountain.

April 19, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Red Cross Donut Dollies bring a touch of home

Due to the ingenuity and can-do attitude of Yanks in World War II, the British witnessed their London Lorries remodeled into odd-looking clubmobiles that smelled of coffee and donuts. In July and August of 1944, brand-new clubmobiles crossed the stormy English Channel as remodeled two-and-a-half ton Army trucks. These vehicles also smacked of hot Joe and circular pastry. Eventually 80 clubmobiles and 320 females known as "clubmobile girls" braved the hazards of war to provide our soldiers with familiar tastes and a touch of home. Fifty-two of the ladies would die in the line of duty.

April 12, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The unstoppable journalist

November, 1965 - the Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam.

April 05, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Old Soldiers Never Die

The closing paragraph of General Douglas MacArthur's April 19, 1951 address to Congress: "I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of the day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier in the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."

April 02, 2015 | Pete Mecca | DIGITAL NEWSPAPER


Old soldiers never die

The closing paragraph of General Douglas MacArthur's April 19, 1951 address to Congress: "I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of the day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier in the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."

March 31, 2015 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Our boys are coming home

Twelve heroes from Newton County and 11 of their brothers from Rockdale County are coming home. Befitting the 40th Anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Moving Wall will be on display in May at the Walk of Heroes War Memorial. And thanks to one man - Bud Sosebee - our heroes will have a noble venue for their homecoming.

March 29, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A Veteran's Story: Our Boys are Coming Home

Eleven heroes from Rockdale County and twelve of their brothers from Newton County are coming home. Befitting the 40th Anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War, the Moving Wall – a traveling half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. – will be on display at the Walk of Heroes War Memorial in Rockdale County, May 6-12. And thanks to one man, Bud Sosebee, our heroes will have a noble venue for their homecoming.

March 26, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


THE MAN FROM ENGLISH GAP part II

March, 1966 - Amended excerpts from 'Vietnam Sky Soldiers' by Wayne English. "The Huey crashed nose first into the earth and you could see the door gunner bracing for impact. The engine was still running while the chopper seemed to wallow around before the rotor blades snapped off. Pieces of rotor blades were flying through the air. Then we started receiving small arms fire along with artillery and mortars all around 2nd Battalion's perimeter. The noise was thunderous, the loudest of any battle we had fought so far. Lead was flying everywhere. I took cover behind the massive root system ...

March 22, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The man from the English Gap

The farm is called English Gap, named after the Vietnam veteran whose heart and soul is dedicated to giving homeless and troubled veterans an opportunity to acclimate their own hearts and souls before returning to society. The challenge is formidable, the results remarkable, the money persistently in short supply but unable to discourage the determination and dedication of founder, Wayne English.

March 15, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Soviets, Snow & Cyanide

Harry remembered life on the home front. "I split and stacked wood, slopped the hogs, and rounded up tin cans for the war effort. One day I bought some firecrackers, drilled a hole in a piece of fire wood, packed the hole with firecrackers then plugged the hole. Well, sir, two days later our neighbors wood stove blew up and the butter bean pot went clean into the attic. The patched hole can still been seen in the house. Yep, I took care of the fire wood and my dad took care of my rear end."

March 08, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


America's first war on terror

Ecclesiastes 3 - "To everything there is a season….and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:8 – "A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

March 01, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Very Good or Very Dead

Flak blackens the sky; a kaleidoscope of anti-aircraft tracers swivel and coil around your aircraft, and you and your passengers are going down. A normal descent is 72 miles per hour, your landing speed 60 mph, at 49 mph your plane could stall, crash, and kill everyone aboard. Manufacturers with names like Ford Motor Company, Gibson Refrigerator, Ward Furniture, a piano manufacturer, Schlitz Brewing Company, a coffin company, and Anheuser-Busch built the aircraft in your 1,400 plane air armada. What could possibly go wrong?

February 22, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


There and back again

Doctor David Almand opened his medical practice in Conyers when we both were still relatively young. Goodness, how time flies when you're having fun. Albeit, only recently did I find out his father, Frank Almand, was a World War II veteran who served in Europe. This is Frank's story.

February 15, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


German pilot showed humanity amidst the inhumanity of WWII

The B-17 pilot was 21 years old, a farm boy from Weston, W. Va., on his first combat mission over the German heartland. His adversary, a former Bavarian airline pilot from Regensburg, Germany, was now a crack pilot for the Luftwaffe, with 22 kills to his credit. He was one victory away from winning the celebrated Knight's Cross. The date: Dec 20, 1943.

January 28, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


The greatest generation of athletes

y recent article on Hollywood's participation in World War II created a tidal wave of emails pleading, "What about the athletes who served?" Indeed they did, in great numbers, and this is their partial story.

January 21, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Freedman: Heroism in world's trouble spots

This is the second of two parts of Gary Freedman's story.

January 14, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Vietnam was only the beginning of this soldier's story

Occasionally, an interview with a veteran challenges my creative abilities. How do I properly relate the story of a military career seemingly beyond normal human aptitudes? This is one of those stories, much too condensed to suitably honor hard-earned accomplishments.

January 07, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Tuskegee Airmen assured fellow pilots a happy new year

Nov. 14, 1944:

December 31, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


In 1914, warring soldiers chose peace on earth

When governments can no longer manage their international responsibilities, soldiers are sent to wage the needed war to restore failed politics.

December 23, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A Veteran's Story: Rockdale’s finest continue to serve

Cpl. Dexter Harris of the Rockdale Sheriff's Department joined the Army in 1987, just three weeks out of high school.

December 17, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


During World War II, Hollywood got serious

Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a metropolis called Hollywood hunkered down to stand up and man-up for its native land. Instead of marketing political correctness, Hollywood's residents put their lives on the line for grassroots notions called individualism, capitalism and freedom. A port called Pearl Harbor transformed the make-believers into freedom-fighters.

December 10, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Pearl Harbor: Japan's biggest mistake

Hamilton Field near San Francisco on Dec. 6, 1941, at 0900: Thirteen B-17s take off at 15-minute intervals for a 15-hour flight to Pearl Harbor. The crossing was long and boring.

December 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Sheridan was an extraordinary American

The Greatest Generation lost another great member this week with the passing of Newborn's mayor, Roger Sheridan. He was my friend.

December 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


For some soldiers, the show must go on

Adopted at age 5 by a couple who owned a nursing home in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Wilsonia "Soni" Browne enjoyed entertaining and singing for the residents. Before her 12th birthday, the family moved to Miami, Fla.

December 03, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Thanksgiving has special meaning for veteran

We were on alert, the midnight sky charcoal black, odd noises coming from the distant jungle beyond the perimeter. My vision battled reality vs. apparitions in black pajamas. I was ready to kill, not so much an enemy, but the aggressive mosquitoes attempting to construct a housing project inside my left ear. I dared not slap or even curse my ear tenants for fear of exposing my so-called fighting position.

November 26, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Military career was great ‘springboard’

Confident in dialogue and conduct, James Johnson Jr. echoes his 22-year career in the United States Army.

November 19, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


'Brotherhood of war' binds WWII veterans

I recently attended a monthly luncheon sponsored by the Atlanta World War II Round Table at Petite Au Berge Restaurant. About 150 folks were in attendance, mostly World War II veterans and their spouses. It was an honor to break bread with these men and women.

November 12, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Veterans Day: a tribute well-deserved

During his 1865 inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln memorably appealed for good treatment of veterans: "to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan."

November 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


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